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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fighting the last war

While we can argue endlessly about liberal versus conservative journalists and media bias, I am willing to give one point in that debate: journalists (pundits in particular) and Democrats tend to fight the last war.

Case in point: Joan Vennochi's lament that Barack Obama is a politician (horrors!) who, now having been exposed by his former pastor will dissolve into a Dukakis-Kerry-like puddle of Jello when faced with the McCain Machine.

Vennochi takes umbrage with Obama's shift in positions in an number of areas, starting with Wright, and reacts with dismay that he actually worked to pass legislation that could benefits all parties in the debate.

But the "Washington Problem" is not that the players are politicians. It is that they have put party above country and refused to seek common ground. The pointy-headed Washington bureaucrat argument is so 1968.

The Globe's Mother Ship offers three very good examples that they have started to recognize there is a new war that needs to be confronted -- while also demonstrating that this time around it's the GOP that may opt to fight the last one, simple because they have no weapons left in their arsenal except for fear and smear.

For starters, yes Obama is a politician! But he is a pragmatic one, someone who will try to get to yes and not a George "Hold My Breath Until I Turn Blue" Bush type who thinks principles (he truly believes in torture) are more important than accomplishments.

As a result of The Theocracy Wars of the last 20-plus years this country facing $126 a barrel oil, a faltering economy and overwhelmingly unpopular war that is squandering our human and financial resources.

That's why people are registering in record numbers to vote in Democratic primaries (the small number of Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" bloviating bitter-enders notwithstanding.) There's far more at stake here than Jeremiah Wright's Rants.

The Punditocracy has gotten it wrong at virtually every step along the way, so it should come as no surprise that it could be heading down that road again -- as Mark Leibovich crisply spells out. The at-times infuriating tactics of Hillary Clinton have served as a dress rehearsal for the "Swift Boat Times Five" campaign being planned by McCain.

As GOP lobbyist Ed Rogers said to Leibovich about the Clinton effort:
“Yeh, like we couldn’t have thought of that.”
Last but not least is the basic observation, as spelled out by Frank Rich, that it simply is not 2004 or 1988 any more. Mike Dukakis and John Kerry are not walking through that door. A politician trained in the rough and tumble of Chicago is, a man who has tasted defeat sown from too-early ambition.

So sorry Joan, the change Obama is speaking about is coming, led by Americans tired of the fiascoes of the last 20 years of hyper-partisan battles involving Clintons and Bushes. He's been smart enough to tap into it.

Don't be bitter.

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